One of the biggest challenges you’ll encounter as an MMO player is the prospect of planning out your time effectively so that you can do everything you want to do.
I’m not just talking about in the MMO itself, either; if you’re anything like me, you don’t want just one game to take over every waking moment of your existence — you probably want to continue enjoying other stuff, too.
This is something I’ve been struggling with for some time now with regard to Square Enix’s wonderful MMO Final Fantasy XIV. After some reflection and some discussion with other people who are or have been in a similar situation themselves, I’ve come up with a set of effective tips to juggle your career in Eorzea (or equivalents) with a rich, fulfilling and varied diet of other games and media.
Continue reading Eorzean Diary: Tips for Being a Filthy FFXIV Casual
Regardless of the type of overall game experience you’re going for in a massive, open-world game like an MMO — be it mechanic-centric or narrative-heavy — one of the most important things for the development team to get right is that feeling of “place” — of the virtual world feeling truly convincing.
This is something that Final Fantasy XIV’s predecessor Final Fantasy XI did very well, particularly within the main city-states, and it’s a tradition that A Realm Reborn continues with aplomb.
Worldbuilding is a far more complex matter than simply plonking some rocks and trees down at the side of pathways, however. It’s even more complex than the overall geometry of the environments that you explore over the course of the game — it’s a combination of things, all working together to make the virtual world as convincing as it possibly can be.
Let’s explore how A Realm Reborn handles this.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: How to Build a World
Final Fantasy XIV’s third major content patch Defenders of Eorzea is here at last, bringing with it some significant new story content, some great new dungeons and a bunch of new game features.
One of the most anticipated new features in Defenders of Eorzea was the new Hunt system, a Final Fantasy XII-inspired activity that tasked players with several things: tracking down daily Marks from among the regular enemies that wander the world; tracking down a single weekly Elite Mark in exchange for significant rewards; and taking on any other Elite Marks you happen to stumble across in your travels.
While a sound idea in principle, so far The Hunt has had a somewhat questionable introduction to the people of Eorzea, even going so far as to make quite a few people disappointed, upset or even angry.
Let’s look in a little more detail at what’s up with The Hunt.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: The Hunt Begins
When Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launched last year, it was promised that the game would enjoy significant new content updates every three months — and it’s a promise that Naoki Yoshida and his team has kept.
Not only that, but between the three-monthly big patches — which tend to advance the game’s main story, introduce new dungeons and endgame encounters as well as numerous other bells and whistles — the FFXIV team has been generous in providing players with a bunch of smaller updates in between times, helping keep the game fresh and interesting as well as improving the general quality of life for everyone playing.
The last of these smaller patches to hit the game introduced a few little tweaks to gameplay as well as the enjoyable but infuriating collectathon that is the Sightseeing Log — a system that finally makes the weather in the game relevant, but which in the process will cause you to curse it on a regular basis — but now, as we approach July, we’re looking forward to the next major content update: patch 2.3, known as Defenders of Eorzea.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Defenders and Ninjas
I’ve tried to get my “real life” friends into MMOs in the past. Lord knows, I’ve tried.
And, for a brief, blissful period in World of Warcraft’s early heyday, it was successful. We were all playing together, enjoying ourselves and having a blast. Then the inevitable happened: one of us started playing more than the others, and started steaming ahead. Then another person did the same. Eventually, we were left with something of a split group, unable to practically and productively play together because of our level disparity.
This is a common problem that has plagued MMOs since their inception, and different games have tackled it in different ways. (Some games haven’t tackled it at all, for that matter.) Final Fantasy XIV, for my money, handles it in a fairly elegant manner that helps ensure that all the content in the game remains relevant, regardless of whether you’ve just levelled up enough to try it for the first time, or you’re a level 50, item level 97 veteran who has run it hundreds of times to date.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Those Who Play Together…
One of the things that can make or break a massively multiplayer game like Final Fantasy XIV is the community.
You can have all the great content and regular updates in the world, but if your community is largely made up of obnoxious morons, you’ll end up driving away the passionate but thinner-skinned players, leaving behind only the aforementioned obnoxious morons. And thus the problem continues to compound itself.
For the most part, in my experience, anyway, the community of Final Fantasy XIV has been a mostly very helpful and supportive place. And I think it’s important to keep it that way.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Do Unto Others…
The thing with multiplayer online games is that sooner or later you have to deal with other people. In a game as inherently social and cooperative as an MMORPG, it tends to be on the “sooner” end of the spectrum.
To its credit, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn caters to lots of different play styles, though if you do intend on playing through the complete, authentically Final Fantasy storyline you’ll need to get comfortable with at least the 4-player dungeons as you progress through the game.
When I started playing Final Fantasy XIV, I chose the Thaumaturge class, which later becomes Black Mage — a “DPS” class, or damage-dealer. The job of a DPS character is simple and twofold: deal damage, try not to get hit. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s completely responsibility-free, but it’s definitely the best choice for those who perhaps aren’t comfortable with leading a party of adventurers.
People like me.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Confessions of a Terrified Tank
MMORPGs are constantly changing games, both in terms of the content they offer to players and the community that plays them.
This is particularly apparent in Square Enix’s MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which has been ticking along nicely since its release (well, re-release) last August. Ever since producer Naoki Yoshida and his team threw open the doors of their fantasy land to all and sundry, they’ve been listening very carefully to feedback from the player base and continually tweaking and adjusting the game accordingly.
Some of these changes are welcome. Some less so. And some just need a bit of refinement. The Zodiac Weapons quest added in the most recent major content patch Through The Maelstrom is one very clear example of the latter.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Quest for the Atma